Date
18 January 2017
A man walks past a billboard advertising the renminbi and other currencies. China has no intention of staring a currency war, according to the top central bank economist. Photo: Reuters
A man walks past a billboard advertising the renminbi and other currencies. China has no intention of staring a currency war, according to the top central bank economist. Photo: Reuters

Renminbi to move both ways after surprise devaluation

China’s currency is likely to move in both directions as the economy stabilizes.

Ma Jun, chief economist of the central bank, said Beijing’s move last week to weaken the renminbi could head off further adjustments, Reuters reports. 

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) shocked global markets by devaluing the yuan by nearly 2 percent on Aug. 11.

The PBoC called it free-market reform but some saw it as the start of a long-term yuan depreciation to spur exports.

The yuan’s drop last week and its increased flexibility could help “sharply reduce the possibility” of similar adjustments in future, Ma said.

In the near term, it is more likely there will be “two way volatility”, or appreciation and depreciation of the yuan, he said.

Ma said the central bank would move only in “exceptional circumstances” to iron out “excessive volatility” in the exchange rate.

He played down market fears that a currency war could be triggered by China’s devaluation, which dragged some other Asian currencies to multi-year lows.

“China has no intention or need to participate in a currency war,” Ma said in the statement.

“There is no need to worry” that the central bank will continue to intervene in the market to support the yuan as China’s economy stabilizes, Ma said.

“In the future, even if the central bank needed to intervene in the market, it may be in either direction,” he added.

Ma expects the economy to grow about 7 percent this year, in line with the government’s target.

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